Create a living trust in Oregon

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by Brette Sember, J.D.
updated March 07, 2023 ·  4min read

A living trust in Oregon allows you to have use and control of your assets while they remain in trust for your beneficiaries. A revocable living trust (sometimes known as an inter vivos trust) is a popular estate planning option with a variety of benefits.

Living trusts in Oregon

An Oregon living trust is established by the grantor. As the grantor, you determine all the terms of the trust and move your assets into control of the trust. You’ll want to place as many assets as possible into the trust to maximize it. Some assets such as life insurance and retirement accounts cannot be added to a trust. When you create the trust, you need to select a trustee who is responsible for managing the assets. You can choose anyone, but it usually makes the most sense to be your own trustee, so you can be in complete control. You then need to select a successor trustee to step in and manage the assets after you die. This trustee also is responsible for distributing assets to your beneficiaries according to your instructions. You can make any changes you like to your trust during your life. You can even eliminate it. An irrevocable living trust cannot be altered once it is final.

A living trust Oregon allows you to bypass probate for the assets in your trust. Probate is a court procedure that approves a will and puts it into effect. Probate can be time-consuming; it takes months to resolve. Probate also involves the expenses of an attorney, an executor, and court fees. Assets passed by a will cannot be distributed until probate concludes, whereas assets in a trust can be distributed immediately upon your death if you wish.

Oregon has not adopted the Uniform Probate Code, so its procedures are considered complex. There is a small estate probate proceeding available if you have $75,000 or less in personal property and $200,000 or less in real estate. This procedure is faster and less expensive than a will and may be less costly than establishing a trust, but does not offer the other benefits a trust provides.

Do I need a living trust in Oregon?

There are many factors to weigh when deciding whether to create a living trust in Oregon. One of the biggest benefits of a trust is the control it gives you during your life and after your death. During your lifetime, your assets are technically owned in the name of the trust, but you use them as you normally would. You live in your house, spend your money, and give gifts or sell assets as you want. After your death, you still have control because your assets are controlled by the trust under the terms you set up. The assets can be kept in trust until future dates you have chosen. Many people wait for beneficiaries to reach specific ages before disbursing to them.

Your revocable living trust protects you should you become mentally incapacitated. All of your assets are already controlled, owned, and managed by the trust, and a conservatorship proceeding is likely unnecessary. While a durable power of attorney can be rejected, a trust cannot be. Your financial life is protected by the trust.

The trust allows you to keep your family matters private. While a will becomes public record when probate occurs, a trust is never probated and never made public. No one will know who your beneficiaries are, what assets are in the trust, or what the conditions of the trust are. Your trust is also more difficult to contest than a will, providing security that your arrangements will remain in place.

Living trusts and estate taxes in Oregon

Estate tax is often an important factor in estate planning. Living trusts do not protect your assets from estate tax. The state of Oregon applies estate tax to amounts over $1 million and the federal government applies it to estates exceeding $5 million. A special type of trust called a QTIP trust (or marital trust) can be used to avoid estate tax by leaving assets from a deceased spouse to a surviving spouse. Medicaid spend down rules apply to living trust assets. Assets in a trust are not shielded from creditors, but may be more difficult to locate by creditors.

How to create a living trust in Oregon

Creating a living trust Oregon requires you to prepare a trust agreement. This document is then signed by you in front of a notary. The trust is not complete or functional until you transfer ownership of your assets into the trust. Prepared correctly, living trusts can give you the control, flexibility, and privacy that matter to you.

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Brette Sember, J.D.

About the Author

Brette Sember, J.D.

Brette Sember, J.D., practiced law in New York, including divorce, mediation, family law, adoption, probate and estates,… Read more

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of the author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.